Knicks Named as Potential Trade Suitor for $48.8 Million Star

The New York Knicks could be a potential landing spot for nine-time NBA All-Star wing  Paul George if he and the Los Angeles Clippers could not agree to an extension, according to NBA insider Marc Stein.

“Another trusted source has advised me to keep the Knicks on the list as a potential trade suitor for George if the All-NBA swingman indeed opts into the final season of his current contract at $48.8 million. That step would position George to push for a trade to another team,” Stein wrote on June 23.

George and the Clippers have yet to strike a new deal with less than a week away from the June 29 deadline for the star wing to pick up or decline his $48.8 million player option.

The sticking point in the negotiation between the two parties is the Clippers’ reluctance to “extend George to a longer or richer deal than Kawhi Leonard‘s recent three-year contract extension in the $150 million range,” Stein added.

While Leonard is the bigger star based on their resume, George is the more durable player.

The 34-year-old George is coming off his ninth All-Star season, averaging 22.6 points on a still elite 47/41/91 shooting split while adding 5.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.2 steals across 74 games, the most he’s played since joining the Clippers.

George credited his durability this past season to getting back to working with the trainers who helped him during his best seasons at Indiana.

“I started working with my strength coach that I was with when I was back in Indiana,” George said on “Podcast P with Paul George” on June 19.

George is represented by CAA’s Aaron Mintz, who also lists Knicks stars Julius Randle, Jalen Brunson, Josh Hart and Isaiah Hartenstein as his other top clients.

Paul George Named ‘Ideal Fit’ With Knicks

If there is an ideal All-Star who can play next to Brunson, it’s George, according to Fred Katz of The Athletic.

“George would be the ideal fit with the Knicks: A rangy wing who drains 3-pointers, runs pick-and-rolls, doesn’t stop moving off the ball and could combine with OG Anunoby to create the best defensive perimeter combination in the league. He plays with no ego and has no issue taking a back seat to costars, whether they’re Kawhi Leonard or Russell Westbrook. And, oh, he’s a client of CAA, the same agency Rose ran before coming to the Knicks four years ago,” Katz wrote on June 14.

But Katz also added that the Knicks “have kicked George’s name around before, according to league sources, but they never seriously pursued him in a deal.”

Knicks Balked at Paul George’s Price Last Summer

The Knicks did inquire about George last summer but balked at his hefty price tag and instead pivoted to acquiring the cheaper and much younger Anunoby in December.

“The Knicks and Clippers originally had trade talks surrounding Paul George at the NBA Draft. At the time, New York was considering a package featuring Obi Toppin, Quentin Grimes, Evan Fournier, and three first-round picks in exchange for George, league sources told HoopsHype. Toppin was then traded to the Pacers for two second-round picks, as ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported.

After that, RJ Barrett’s name was brought up briefly in trade talks by the Clippers in place of Toppin, league sources told HoopsHype. However, the asking price of parting with Barrett, Grimes, three first-round picks, and then having to negotiate a long-term extension for George, who’s 33 years old, was too high for the Knicks,” Hoopshype’s Michael Scotto wrote on July 6, 2023.

All of those Knicks players involved in those trade talks are no longer with the team.

With George holding the leverage against the Clippers, the Knicks might get him at a discount if the All-Star wing requests a trade specifically to New York.

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